The 1969 Ford Torino Cobra and Talladega are a pair of mid-size muscle Fords with somewhat different aims. The no-frills Torino Cobra replied to Plymouth's popular '68 Road Runner, and was actually an option package on the new-for-'68 Torino notchback and fastback SportsRoof hardtop coupes. Production isn't available because it was folded in with Fairlane 500 models, but most were probably built as fastbacks.

Standards for the Torino Cobra and Talladega comprised a 335-bhp 428 V-8, four-speed manual shift, heavy-duty suspension, six-inch-wide wheels, F70 x 14 wide-oval tires, and a taxicab-plain interior. Tail and front fenders wore small, cartoon snakes -- decals at first, emblems later. Options for this car included several axle ratios, Cruise-O-Matic, Ram-Air induction with a broad hood scoop, buckets, console, tach, power front-disc brakes, and limited-slip differential.

The 1969 Ford Torino Cobra proved its mettle on the dragstrips; typical standing quarter-mile time was 14.5 seconds; 0-60 mph took six seconds flat.

The Talladega, named for the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway that opened in '69, aimed to put Torino back in the NASCAR hunt against the slicker, faster Mercury Cyclones and Dodge Chargers. Developed in the wind tunnel, it was a Torino fastback given an extended front end (by six inches) that gently curved to a flush Cobra grille. The result was less drag and higher top speed with no more horsepower.

Street versions of the Talladega, all with white bodies and flat-black hoods, were built to meet production minimums. Equipment was much like the Cobra's save for mandatory Cruise-O-Matic, power steering and brakes (with front discs), and a competition suspension.

The Talladega accomplished its mission, helping Ford to 26 NASCAR Grand National wins and the 1969 championship.

Pluses of the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra & Talladega:

  • Muscle-car performance and mystique
  • Talledega's rarity and purpose-built character
  • Terrific enthusiasm for this genre

Minuses of the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra & Talladega:

  • Few sound, sanitary originals left
  • Collector prices have been volatile
  • Not much fun to drive except in a straight line
  • Variable workmanship

Production of the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra & Talladega:
Cobra: NA (option package)
Talladega: 754 (includes prototypes)

Specifications of the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra & Talladega:
Wheelbase, inches: 116.0
Length, inches: Cobra, 200.1; Talladega, 206

Weight, pounds: 3,490-3,600
Price, new: Cobra, $3,164-$3,189;
Talladega, NA

Engines for the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra & Talladega:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-8428 cid 3351969

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